Monday, February 6, 2012

Pride and Prejudice and the Patriots

I've learned a lot about myself during this Super Bowl week. None of it good.

Surprise, surprise.

In front of Lucas Oil Stadium!
The Super Bowl was right here in Indianapolis, which was exciting! My family and I went down to the Super Bowl Village on Thursday afternoon, and we had a fun time. It's like the city was one big party all week long! We saw Sixpence None the Richer and Red Wanting Blue perform! We saw people go down the giant zipline! We saw Lucas Oil Stadium all lit up and decorated for the big game!

And we saw Patriots fans. And Patriots gear in the Colts Pro Shop. And a picture of Tom Brady on the outside of Lucas Oil Stadium. Our Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts' Lucas Oil Stadium.

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

On Super Bowl Sunday, I went to Target for a few minutes. I saw a woman in a Patriots jersey. And I scowled inwardly. I thought, "Maybe she's from out of town. But she's not shopping like an out-of-towner. How can someone from here dare to wear a Patriots jersey? Grrr."

I'm so mean! Why was I thinking these things? 

Because I was raised to think these things. And I don't even follow sports that closely.

You see, I'm from Cleveland. And Cleveland fans know that there are some football and baseball teams who are inherently good, such as:

  • The Cleveland Browns
  • The Cleveland Indians
  • The Indianapolis Colts
  • The Boston Red Sox
  • The Chicago Cubs
  • The Washington Redskins

These teams are either ours or have no negative feelings in Cleveland. I added the Redskins because they were my grandpa's favorite team, and my grandpa clearly wouldn't like anyone awful. He was originally from Cleveland, after all, so he had good taste in sports. And there are some football and baseball teams who are the opposite of good, such as:

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers
  • The Baltimore Ravens
  • The New York Yankees
  • The Chicago White Sox
  • The New England Patriots

Even the font they use for the Ravens' jerseys looks mean. Ever notice that? Anyway—based on these teams, I also have preconceived notions of all the players and the cities to which the teams belong. I really never gave much thought to the New England Patriots until I moved here to Indianapolis. But they're a big Colts rival, so it didn't take long for me to align with the rest of the city in my dislike for the Patriots. And Tom Brady in particular.

Now, is that really fair? I mean, maybe Tom Brady is a wonderful individual. Maybe he does lots of volunteer work and is kind to children and animals. Even if he does have ridiculous hair...

Oops. I didn't mean that. My bad.

But the truth is, I don't really stop and think about the cities or the players that I claim to dislike. Honestly, Pittsburgh has become quite a nice city in the last ten years or so. And I only dislike Baltimore because our Browns were relocated there and became the Ravens. Try living in Cleveland when someone's taken away your football team. It was awful. A very dark time in Cleveland. Sounds like I'm exaggerating, but I'm totally not. Dark.

The same can be said for faith a lot of the time. Some people believe in God merely because they were raised to—and some people don't believe in God for the same reason. There's not a lot of thought or questioning. Not a lot of seeking. Just sitting in old beliefs out of—habit? Maybe some pride? Or family expectations? I mean, if I suddenly became a Pittsburgh fan, my family would take me to get my head examined. And the stakes are much higher when a person goes against his or her family to change ideas about faith.

Saying you believe in God merely because you were raised to is pretty much the worst reason you could give for believing in God. God doesn't want a half-hearted faith borne out of habit. He wants you to know who he is and know why he's worth living for. He knows he'll stand up to scrutiny. He's not afraid of your questions or your searching. Truly. He encourages you to seek him, not settle for him.

So I guess the question here is: What were you raised to believe? Are there any hard-and-fast beliefs that you cling to just because you were raised that way?

And is God one of them?

P.S. - I'm trying really hard to be nicer about other teams. I don't want to be a hater. Some of my best friends are Pittsburgh fans! 


  1. Well, usually the teams that are hated, are hated for reasons...even if you do not know those reasons. Bill B. (coach of the Patriots) plays dirty. He is notorious for doing so. A few years ago, the team, under his lead, was found to most likely be cheating. And Brady...the guy got a girl pregnant and then left her for a super model. Sure, he may be a great guy. But as a woman, that just ticks me off and I can't like the guy. Then there are the Patriots fans, who behave like jerks more often than not. So there are reasons for the dislike of the team and organization. But even were there not, I am not really sure that there is anything wrong with an inherent dislike of a team based on a rivalry. It is, after all, only a game. So long as that is kept in mind...

    1. Bill Belichick was the coach of the Browns for a little while, and I don't remember him being well-liked. Or doing very well, for that matter. Why do all these coaches go through Cleveland and not make the Browns any better, but then they go on to coach awesome teams? It's just not fair! So I guess Belichick is my reason for not liking the Patriots, outside of the Colts rivalry...

  2. HAHAHA HA loved this post! I am a loud and Proud Steeler fan who is sandwhiched on one side of the family by OHIO bred Browns Fans and on the other side by trash talking Baltimore walkin' Raven Fans! Ouch. Yesterday I got scowled at in OHIO for wearing my Steeler Jersey on Game day! :) Took one for the team. Watched the superbowl with disinterest till the 2 min warning...then it got good. Ironically my 17 year old son said. "Mom, have you noticed since Brady/Belicheck got caught cheating by listening in on the plays of other teams, they've come close, but not won another superbowl.I guess cheaters don't win" Well good lesson learned yesterday. And Brady did cut his hair :)

    1. I do find most Steelers fans to be loud. Ha! But that's definitely a good lesson for your son. Cheaters never prosper!

  3. Great post! I think we should all examine our faith "heritage" and find The Truth. Good analogy. (You forgot the Saints in that good list.) :)

    1. You are correct! Drew Brees is royalty in this house. My husband was at Purdue with him, so he almost ranks higher than Peyton Manning around here.


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